People often turn to drugs and alcohol to help them deal with their anger about the uncontrollable circumstances in their lives, such as abuse, violence, or the death of a loved one. Substance abuse provides a temporary escape but doesn’t deal with the underlying issues causing the problem. When a man or women enter addiction recovery, he or she needs to develop new coping mechanisms to process these emotions.
Many people are taught to fear anger. While it’s not a good idea to walk around expressing your anger to anyone you encounter, finding constructive ways to channel your emotions is key. For example:
- Walk away from heated arguments for a cooling-off period. When you return, you’ll be able to handle the situation in a calm and rational manner.
- Use deep breathing and meditation techniques to calm down so you can objectively evaluate the situation and consider the other person’s point of view.
- When you need to discuss what’s bothering you, stick to the specific incident at hand. Bringing up someone’s past mistakes is a surefire way to escalate a tense situation.
- Find alternative ways to express anger, such as writing in a journal, drawing, playing a musical instrument, or channeling your emotions through exercise.
- Reevaluate your personal relationships. When we grow as people, sometimes we drift from former friends. If someone doesn’t support your journey to sobriety and your efforts to enhance mental well-being, ask yourself if they still deserve a place in your life.
The Journal of Addictive Disorders (JAD) points out that many people who struggle with substance abuse issues also suffer from untreated depression. Even though the public perception of depressed individuals is that they’re sad, withdrawn, and prone to tearful outbursts, depression often manifests itself as a struggle to control anger. Antidepressant medication and counseling to address the factors contributing to depression can result in a more balanced outlook.
Treating a Dual Diagnosis
When a patient suffers from addiction and depression, he or she is said to have a dual diagnosis. To promote a lasting recovery, recovery needs to focus on addressing both issues. Coast to Coast Recovery specializes in treating depression and other mental health conditions that can accompany addiction, offering personalized care as well as a range of post-treatment options. Call 1-800-210-8229 to learn more.